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‘Don’t Worry, Darling’ — Florence Pugh Has It Under Control

If you’ve spent any time online in the past few weeks, “Don’t Worry Darling” needs no introduction. Between Harry Styles’ now infamous interview at Venice Film Festival (he was right — the movie does feel like a movie), Florence Pugh’s conspicuous absence from that same event, Olivia Wilde’s public feud with former star Shia LaBeouf, and perhaps the most bizarre, the Harry Styles and Chris Pine ‘spit gate’, “Don’t Worry Darling” was facing a barrage of criticism and unfortunate viral tweets well before even hitting the silver screen. The film’s trailer was met with trepidation, Styles’ labored acting skills looked all the worse next to Pugh’s natural delivery, and critics haven’t been exactly kind to Wilde’s sophomore directorial credit. The question remained, however, if, after all this, the movie would actually be any good. The verdict? It’s good enough, and sometimes that’s okay.

“Don’t Worry Darling” tells the story of Alice (Pugh) and Jack (Styles), the picture of mid-century domestic bliss, as they enjoy life in the town of Victory, an experimental community part-company town, part-luxury resort. All seems perfect, her the glamorous housewife and him the successful breadwinner, until, of course, it isn’t. Alice starts to notice cracks in their seemingly perfect life and begins to wonder what exactly it is her husband is doing at the Victory Project before everything starts to unravel. It’s a classic “Stepford Wives” tale, and Wilde’s take on the story is not particularly revolutionary. That being said, the movie is still solid. It’s visually stunning, with a gorgeous set and costume design, and the film’s supporting cast does wonders for what might otherwise be a slightly weak script. There are some memorable scenes, to be sure (no spoilers, but if you’ve ever wondered what Harry Styles might look like tap dancing, you’re in luck), and the movie makes a strong attempt at delivering a solid feminist message.

If anything, the film falters because it doesn’t quite go far enough. Dancing on the edge of thriller and horror, viewers might find themselves willing to tip into the latter category. The film’s visuals give it a glorious setup, but it almost seems to run out of steam near the end as the story wraps up and the ending comes into sight. Pugh does a brilliant job of portraying the “darling” of the film’s title, but the material itself feels slightly limiting, and we’re left wondering what might have been if she were given more to work with. On the other end of the spectrum, Styles seems pushed to his limit by the film’s script. His acting is passable, even good when he’s on the sidelines, but when he’s required to carry a scene himself, things get a little shaky. Perhaps it wouldn’t even be that bad if Styles wasn’t forced to act opposite to Pugh, who lights up every scene she’s in, but the pairing doesn’t do Styles any justice. Ultimately, it’s Pugh that saves the movie. She gives a shining performance and keeps the film on track despite its poor pacing, which is somehow both too fast and too slow. Clocking in at just over two hours, the film might have been better served with a longer runtime, if only just to give the overstuffed plot more time to breathe.

That being said, “Don’t Worry Darling” may be not the best movie you’ll ever watch, but not every movie has to be. For Styles fans, Wilde haters, and everyone in between, the film is worth seeing, even if it won’t change your life. Expect great visuals, a fantastic leading lady, and a storyline that’ll keep you guessing right to the end.

Title: “Don’t Worry Darling”

Starring: Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Chris Pine, Olivia Wilde

Director(s): Olivia Wilde

If you like: “The Stepford Wives”, “Severance”, “Pleasantville”

Shamrocks: 3.5 out of 5

Abigail Keaney

Contact Abigail at akeaney@nd.edu

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‘Harry’s House’ feels like home

There are moments in life that feel unsubstantial.

But then, there’s the 10-second countdown to Harry Styles’ “As It Was,” music video. Personally, I know at least 10 people who were eagerly awaiting its arrival. Styles’ new album “Harry’s House,” was not just an elevation of his personal musical journey, but a landmark in the unique soft rock-pop genre.

The album emits whimsical vibes, accentuated by effortlessly picked guitar and rhythmic beats that set the tone and enrich the rock aspect of the genre. From the beginning of the first track, “Music for a Sushi Restaurant,” Harry introduces a playful vibe by insinuating that sushi is a perfect date food option since it’s as complex and layered as his lover. Throughout the album, he transitions from puppy love to a deeper and more vulnerable romance. This dynamic is clear through two of the album’s tracks “Little Freak” and “Matilda.”

In “Little Freak”, Harry sings about the initial stages of the relationship where you don’t know a person well yet but are still intrigued by them. The song was beautifully written in a third-person perspective with lyrics like “tracksuit and a ponytail you hide the body all that yoga gave you” and “you never saw my birthmark.” The lyrics show how often people fail to see beyond the initial impressions of their romantic partners and end up jumping feet-first into a relationship. These misconceptions often result in broken hearts, and as Harry suggests, “broken ankles.” 

This is contrasted with “Matilda,” an acoustic pop song including soft guitar. Here, Harry is reflective, trying to work through ideas from previously strained relationships and generate feelings of acceptance. The title reminds me of the book “Matilda” where the protagonist was rejected by her family for being magical but her teacher, Miss Honey, eventually believes and accepts her. Additionally, “Matilda” largely struck a chord with queer audiences who felt seen and comforted with the ending “You could start a family who will always show you love.” 

In a way, I think this contrast showcases how Harry has stopped taking life too seriously. However, he’s clearly demonstrating growth from his previous Playboy celebrity persona to a more mature and sensitive artist. Particularly, his reference to being over “whites and pinks” — the signature color for Victoria’s Secret — shows that he’s done dating models. 

Now, he’s writing about his speculated girlfriend, American actress and filmmaker Olivia Wilde. In “Cinema,” he mentioned that he brings “pop to the cinema,” referring to their upcoming movie project “Don’t Worry Darling.” The Hollywood references continue in “Keep Driving” with references to a “black and white film camera.” Additionally, “Keep Driving” digs deeper into privacy problems the couple faced at the beginning of their relationship: As they “withheld clouds,” they just kept driving. 

With all of this media attention, he’s become increasingly aware of his fanbase. In “As It Was,” he playfully suggests that he “leave America” since his fans would like him to tour in places other than North America. (I stand firmly against this.) Regardless, it’s understandable he would miss his home in England. “Love Of My Life” is allegedly about the homesickness he experienced while touring around the world, ultimately reminding us that this is “Harry’s House” — and we’re just living in it. 

The former boyband member has managed to grow up. Through the exploration of his personal struggles, Styles has managed to make his house into a home. Despite this being his third solo album, he has managed to not lose his audience’s attention. We know he is going to continue outdoing himself with every album and surprising us with bops!

Album: “Harry’s House”

Artist: Harry Styles

Label: Columbia Records 

Favourite tracks: “Keep Driving,” “Grapejuice,” “Cinema”

Shamrocks: 5 out of 5

Contact Ananya at adalmia@nd.edu